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Top Scientific Honor for Archaeologist and Economist

James A. Brown and Dale Mortensen elected to National Academy of Sciences

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May 2, 2013 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University archaeologist James A. Brown and Dale Mortensen, who won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2010, have been elected members of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Brown and Mortensen are among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Northwestern now has more than 20 NAS members. Brown and Mortensen will be inducted in the Academy next April during its 151st annual meeting in Washington, D.C. There are approximately 2,200 active NAS members, and approximately 200 members have won Nobel prizes. Among the renowned NAS members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell.

Brown is professor emeritus of anthropology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012, Brown is an archaeologist with broad interests in the aboriginal cultures of North America, past and present. His research has been directed toward detailed examination of social and cultural complexity in the Eastern Woodlands of North America. Critical to this endeavor has been an effort to move the archaeological debate from typically parochial concerns to a globally based framework that allows the archaeological record of the Eastern Woodlands to be examined cross-culturally. Currently, he has been concentrating on religious and social changes over the past 1,000 years. Iconography has been employed as a route to the study of religion, canonical representation and craft specialization.

The author and co-editor of a number of books, Brown is a recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service and various state agencies. He serves on the board of directors of the Center for American Archeology (Kampsville) and has served as commissioner of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor Commission and on the board of directors of the Illinois State Museum (including chairman of the board). He is the holder of the 1999 Distinguished Service Award from the Society for American Archaeology and the Clarence L. Ver Steeg Graduate Faculty Award (2004). He is also a member of the Registry of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) and a certified professional archaeologist in Illinois.

See link to video on Professor Brown’s research on Cahokia, a Native American settlement in southwestern Illinois from 700 until 1400 A.D.

Mortensen, the Board of Trustees Professor of Economics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, shared the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2010 with Peter Diamond of MIT and Christopher Pissarides of the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom, for developing a framework that seeks to explain why there are so many people unemployed at the same time as there are a large number of job openings. Their model helped explain the ways in which unemployment, job vacancies and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy and can also be applied to other areas, including the housing market.

Mortensen joined Northwestern in 1965 and pioneered the theory of job search and search unemployment and extended it to study labor turnover, research and development, personal relationships and labor reallocation. Mortensen’s insight, that friction is equivalent to the random arrival of trading partners, has become the leading technique for analysis of labor markets and the effects of labor market policy. The development of equilibrium dynamic models designed to account for wage dispersion, the time series behavior of job and worker flows, and the role of reallocation in the determination of aggregate growth and productivity are the principal topics of his current research. His publications include more than 50 scientific articles. His book, “Wage Dispersion: Why Are Similar Workers Paid Differently?” was published by MIT Press in 2003.

Mortensen is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a research fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). He is also a fellow of Econometrica Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Labor Economics, and the European Economic Association. He was awarded the IZA Labor Economics Prize in 2005 and the Society of Labor Economics Mincer Prize in 2007. In 2008 he was elected an American Economic Association Distinguished Fellow. A new book, jointly authored with Pissarides, entitled “Job Matching, Unemployment, and Wage Dispersion” was published by Oxford University Press in 2011.  

See link to “A Nobel Prize Celebration Like No Other."